Niagara County

WWII Plaque at DeWitt Clinton School

Lockport Union Sun and Journal, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1947

Pupils Erect War Plaque

De Witt Clinton School students have erected a bronze memorial plaque in honor of nine former pupils who lost their lives in World War II. The children, many of whom are relatives of the war dead, raised funds for the memorial by presenting operettas and dance festivals under guidance of Miss Agnes A. Gerrity, principal, and faculty members.

The plaque is on the wall in the lower hall of the school and is inscribed: "World War II 1941-1945. They died that other children might live." Listed are the names of the following war heroes:

Pfc. Maurice A. White, son of Mrs. Fred White, 84 North Adam St., killed in action June 29, 1944 in France;

Corp. Charles J. Colletti, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Colletti, 295 Market St., died April 12, 1944 as the result of a jeep accident in Italy.

Lieut. Joseph B. Neden, son of Joseph Neden, Old Niagara Road, missing in action May 29, 1945 over Japan;

Pfc. Paul Converso, son of Mr. and Mrs. Converso, 589 Market St., killed in action Jan. 27, 1945 on Leyte.

Pfc. John A. Gluzek, son of Mr. and Mrs. John T. Gluzek, 409 Clinton St., died in action Nov. 26, 1943 in North Africa;

Seaman, first class, Edward C. Fabian, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Fabian, 200 Clinton St., missing June 3, 1943 in the Atlantic.

Seaman, second class, Justin D'Agnostino, son of Mrs. Camille Mattuzzo, 10 Exchange St., killed March 10, 1945 in the Pacific;

Pfc Joseph Scarpinato, son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Scarpinato, 88 Olcott St., missing in action Oct. 16, 1943 in European Theater.

Tech. Sergt. Salvatore A. Vizi, son of Mrs. Grace Vizi, 53 North Adam St., missing Dec. 23, 1944 in raid over Germany.

Additional Notes from Various Sources

Corp. Charles J. Colletti: b. 28 Jun 1911, d. 12 Apr 1944, of a fractured skull; buried in St. Patrick's cemetery, Lockport, NY; enlisted 27 Oct 1942; Army Air Corps.

Lieut. Joseph B. Neden: He entered service in Nov 1942. He was a pilot on a B-29 with the 60th Bombardment Squadron, 20th Air Force. He had completed 17 missions. On his 18th mission (and the 8th mission of the current B-29 crew) over Yokohama, his luck ran out. Another crewman, George C. Tilghman, wrote to the family and said that the crew of 11 had dropped bombs over Yokohama and were shot at from the ground as they were attempting to report back to their base. The plane went into a tailspin, dropped 7000 feet (from 19000 feet to 12000 feet) and levelled off. Although the tail of the ship was hit and the controls destroyed, the engines were working and the men flew 50 miles out to sea from the coast of Japan, where the order was given to abandon ship. An SOS had been sent and a submarine contacted. 8 of them bailed out of the plane; 1 of them so badly injured that he never opened his parachute and wasn't seen again; only 3 survived, 1 rescued within hours, the other 2 survived in single man dingy's 30 hours in the water before they were rescued (the dingy's were part of the standard equipment worn by the men). Three or four of the crew members, including, Joseph Neden (pilot), the Commander and the right wing gunner, who were uninjured, did not leave the plane. Mr. Tilghman did not know why they remained, unless they had hopes of reaching an island. He watched the plane fly out of sight. Joseph was listed as missing in action in the Pacific area on 29 May 1945, and one year later the War Department considered him as presumed dead along with the other missing crewmembers.

Pfc Maurice A. White: from Find-a-Grave: buried in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, at Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France, Plot J Row 9 Grave 18

Pfc. Paul Converso: son of Joseph Converso; entered service on 25 Jan 1943. Body was returned in 1948, buried in St. Patrick's cemetery. He had at least one other brother, Dominic, in the armed forces and another 4 brothers and 4 sisters who survived him.

Pfc. John Anthony Gluszek: b. 16 Nov 1922, d. 26 Nov 1943, buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery; surname spelled Gluszek on gravestone and census records; enlisted 9 Jan 1942; Army Air Corps flight engineer; first listed as missing in North Africa; died of injuries received in action; had at least one brother also in the service; SGT Andrew Gluszek.

Seaman, first class, Edward C. Fabian was reported missing June 3, 1943. On 28 Oct 1943, further information was sent to the family: he was a member of an armed guard supplied to a merchant vessel which collided with another June 1, off the Atlantic coast; no trace of Seaman Fabian's body has been discovered since the collision which culminated in the explosion of the craft. He had at least 2 other brothers in the armed service: MSGT Felix J. Fabian and Aviation Ordnance Mate Third Class, Victor M. Fabian, U.S.N.

Seaman, second class, Justin D'Agostino: b. 20 May 1926, Rochester, NY; a son of Thomas and Camille (Colletti) D'Agostino; grew up in Lockport; enlisted on 8 May 1944; d. 11 Mar 1945 in the Pacific; body returned in 1948; buried in Cold Springs Cemetery, Lockport, NY.

Pfc Joseph Vincent Scarpinato: b. 22 Oct 1912; enlisted June 1942; served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, machine gunner in an infantry division; d. 16 Oct 1943; was first listed as missing in action in Italy; had at least one brother in the Armed Services, Anthony Scarpinato, jr.

Tech. Sergt. Salvatore A. Vizi: enlisted 1 Jun 1942; radio gunner on a B-29; completed 12 missions; killed on 23 Dec 1944, in a raid over Germany. First reported as missing.

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